Check on loved ones in nursing homes

Published 11:03 am Friday, July 26, 2013

To the Editor:

I am a resident of Plymouth, N.C. My letter is probably written too late to help many families who have already endured the heartache and stress of having family members neglected in nursing homes.

After recently losing my father due to the neglect of nursing home staff at a Virginia facility, I decided the public needs to be aware of things that occur in these facilities. My grandmother was a resident of Franklin, and she was also in the same facility as my father. Family members were in almost daily and observed neglect of residents. When notifying the administrator, our family was informed she could not discuss other residents, but she could have done something about it after being informed. My father was an Alzheimer patient. It was not by my choice, but he was admitted to this facility. Because he wandered, he was given a wrist alarm. One morning he was found outside by a visitor. The staff was unaware he was outside of the facility. During meal times, I watched my father standing, trying to eat spaghetti with his fingers with no assistance from staff. CNAs were double diapering patients. Quick and easy, right?

But to top it all off, dealing with an uncaring administrator, director of nursing, nursing staff and CNAs was tough. The Sunday my father was found unresponsive by my mother – who had worked in a nursing home for 25 years – she knew immediately he needed medical attention. The nurse stated his vitals were normal, but they weren’t. His power of attorney was contacted and insisted he go to the E.R. They hesitated to send him. When he finally went to the E.R., his vitals were not normal. He was severely dehydrated, malnourished, had a low level of oxygen and also had bi-lateral pneumonia.

He was sent to ICU. My father never regained consciousness and only to respond with tears when being turned. We decided to discontinue treatment. No one should ever have to go through this. Please, if you have a loved one in a nursing facility, check on them daily. If you see neglect, please report it. Someone needs to care. Do you? In loving memory of Bertha V. Griffith, grandmother, and Alvin C Parker Sr., father.



Dottie Downs

Plymouth, N.C.